I'm sorry so many are having this same problem with the FTM 16 web search freezing, but am thankful I found this thread as the same thing happened to me about 2 days ago also.
I thought it was because I had just installed FTM 2011, and for some unknown reason version 16 started acting up.
I am running windows 7, 64-bit, Home Premium, and had some trouble getting version 16 to install at first. I finally got it working but do have to run it as Administrator. I haven't updated to IE 9 yet, and I tried installing the new Service Pak 1 for windows 7 and it fails. I checked Windows Update and have it set for automatic updates. The last update I have was 2 days ago and it was for Windows Defender.
Sometimes I do have the same problem with the web search working, and usually using Ccleaner and rebooting clears something out and it works. Just as others describe, the hourglass runs, but I get no blue progress bar at all.
The only way I can get out of that screen is to use Ctrl+Alt-Delete and restart windows. The