No, not yet, Engineer.
But - I figured it out.
I was nonplussed when the blank long window for putting in a search item disappeared - and it's still 'disappeared'.
What I didn't see, as I use google picasa choices to have on the search screen is that - besides the small light blue vertical line where the search window used to be - is an even smaller bouncing line (don't know what you call that, but it's where you start your typing.
So, once I saw that today (I was off the computer yesterday) I caught on.
I tried getting rid of the picasa photo background and the same thing happened with the white page google web search.. except that now I could more easily see the bouncing black vertical line. And now that I'm clear on how to use it, I've gone back to adding a background photo.
Don't like this too much, in that as I type the search, it doesn't let me see my spelling but instead gives me possible similar search items to click on. Oh, well.
I don't know if this is just on my browser - or is happening for all.
On the bells, those are something I haven't heard on my computer in quite a while, and they are probably normal and have nothing to do with a2k. Thanks, jespah. Their absence was apt to be to do with what was going on as my computer was fluttering to a stop back a week or two ago. (that turned out to be both memory sticks failing, and the guy who fixed it also upgraded my OS X).