Dear Lifehacker, This question has been bothering me for years. Why isn't there a link to Google from the Gmail page? When I sign out of Gmail, I frequently need to go and search for something. I know it's not a big deal to get to Google (on my PC, it's the home screen anyway), but Google don't do things without a reason, right? Cheers, PJ
It is slightly odd that there isn't a link to Google itself on the Gmail sign-in page. I'd say the reason is this: from the Google perspective, you'll get much better results if you're signed into your Google account (which is also your Gmail account), with search results (and ads) personalised to match your previous search history and browsing habits. From that perspective, encouraging people to sign back in is more important than making it easy to get to the standard Google search screen.
Even on a signed-in Gmail page, the standard search link is under 'Web'. While most people still think of Google as equivalent to "Web search" a lot of the time, Google doesn't like people taking that limited view. That's reflected in its unwillingness to allow people to use the term "Google" as a generic term for "search". (In the long run, that isn't a battle I think Google can win; widespread language usage usually trumps legal action.)
As always, alternative theories from readers would liven up the comments no end.