Google Groups is also somewhat painful to search
I have no trouble searching in the google groups app. What problems
have you had?
From my experience… on about a dozen groups including several I moderate… the problem is searching through history.. It's fine if all you want is keyword search, it does that well... however if you want to do faceted search (filtering by subject, thread, user, time span, etc…) google groups makes it hard to do those things IMHO, hence why I have all my google groups also indexed via Markmail.
In the end I don't really know what moving to Groups would gain other than integration into a web UI…. with the exception of a thread view and inline posting… you can get *most* of that functionality via Google Reader right now by subscribing to the existing feed: http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/couchdb-user/?format=atom
Just my 2¢.