Googlemania is finally upon us in earnest.

Today, Google registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a $2.7 billion public offering. Investors also got their first look at Google's books. The company took in $961.9 million in revenue in 2003 with profits of $106.5 million. Sales were up 177% over 2002, but it's noteworthy that earnings increased just 6%.

And therein lies part of the problem with IPOs. While more information will be forthcoming, Google -- for all its hype -- doesn't have a track record we can easily follow. And while any successful dot-com is a liberating prospect for investors burned by the crash of so many dot-bombs a couple of years ago, caution is always the best recourse when you're considering IPOs. Take it from Steven Mallas, who on Tuesday confessed a litany of IPOs he'd lost money on, particularly on brand names like Fox Entertainment (NYSE:FOX), World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE), and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) offspring (you have to love how Fool writers have no qualms about publicizing their mistakes so that others may benefit).

Google may very well be a great long-term investment. But that doesn't mean you have to jump in as soon as the bell rings. One thing is very likely: When this Internet darling finally holds its coming-out party, speculators are going to jump in. The stock may rocket. But how high it will go and, more importantly, how long it will stay up there, no one knows. Don't forget, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) once fetched some $250 per share. And we know a whole lot more about Yahoo!'s business today than we do about Google's. By the way, Yahoo! is not standing idly by as Google is about to raise billions to compete with it.

We're all in search of the next Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), but remember, the world's biggest tech company came out with far less fanfare than Google has today. Treat the Google IPO as you would any untested company: with skepticism and a Foolish eye that's not easily distracted by the lure of fast money. If you're destined to reap investment rewards from the company, it likely will not be in its first week of public trading, whenever that might be.

Bob Bobala does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article.