No, it's not dot-com redux Google sees profit surge

With fourth-quarter net income soaring seven-fold and revenue doubling, Google is growing at a breathtaking rate. One day the sales machine surely will slow down but are you gutsy--or stupid--enough to make that wager today? So for the foreseeable future, Fat City reigns supreme in Mountain View, Calif.

Taking their cue from Google's spectacular success, the talking heads on the boob tube are salivating over the potential of the Internet as a sales medium. But hold on one cotton-picking moment. Don't forget the pendulum swings both ways. It wasn't very long ago that consensus expert opinion was ready to write off the Internet as an oversold bill of goods. Irrational exuberance, and all that stuff.

When it comes to thinking about the historical development of the Internet, this is still the opening chapter. In the meantime, a little perspective comes in quite handy. Alan Greenspan, meet Giovanni Battista Vico.

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