Huh. I also notice the delayed display of the top and side links in IE8. They fade in after the main logo and search box are displayed. In FF 3.5.7, I have no delay at all, but the advanced search and language tools links are never displayed. I do have Adblock Plus in FF, but the page loads the same (no advanced search) even when I disable it.
Edit: Even when looking at the page source, in IE8, the page source shows the advanced search link. In FF, there is no such link in the source. It's literally not in the HTML code for the page.
Edit2: Google (if this is indeed google) is sending me differerent images for the logo. In IE8, they are sending me this logo:
In FF, they are sending me:
Why is Google sending me different "stuff" for the same page, using different browsers? Note the image URLs are different, but both appear to be from a Google source.