Things are always very much quicker if the page you are calling is already in the cache memory of the machine you are using.
I suspect that this is is the case here and that google was just sat waiting in the cache on your wifes machine.
Hi - I've recently set up wireless broadband using plusnet 2MB and a Belkin 54 modem and wireless router. Annoyingly my wife's 4 year old 700 MHz Packard Bell running Windows ME using an ethernet connection to the router seems much faster than my newer 1.9 GHz Pentium M Toshiba Satellite which runs Windows XP Service Pack 2 with a newly upgraded Norton Antivirus 2004 package and is wireless via a Belkin PCMCIA card.
Although the indicator shows a very good signal strength, something as simple as going back to a Google search from web site took 10 seconds but was virtually instaneous on the missus machine. Feels like dial up!