Google counters Facebooks Oculus buy with $500M investment in VR startup Magic Leap

The search and advertising giant Google is leading what could wind up being a half-billion-dollar round in Magic Leap, according to a report in Re/code. The site said that Andreessen Horowitz could also be investing in the huge round.
What Magic Leap does is not entirely clear yet, but it appears to be a highly realistic form of virtual reality or augmented reality. The company calls it “Cinematic Reality,” with a trademark symbol. The splash screen on its website shows a very photorealistic, tiny, animated elephant moving around in a person’s cupped palms. Facebook dropped $2 billion acquiring the relatively mature (but still unreleased) Oculus earlier this year. Oculus makes a virtual reality headset that is aimed primarily at gamers, but might have relevance to future computer and mobile interfaces. Oculus headsets don’t let you see the world around you, however.
For its part, Google already has a virtual reality bet with its Google Glass, which superimposes information on the periphery of your vision. According to Re/code, Magic Leap will probably superimpose high-resolution images, perhaps via special glasses of its own, directly in front of your field of view, with the ability to adjust the depth of field. The Re/code report cites “industry sources” and seems somewhat conjectural, however, and notes that Magic Leap, Google, and Andreessen Horowitz did not respond to requests for comment.