Google Cardboard

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Google Cardboard App Poster Image
Brief intro to virtual reality leaves you wanting more.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Limited content, but what's available can be a great introduction to new places, sites, or information. The immersive experience is likely to grab kids' attention in a way that simple 2D coverage can't. Kids may be inspired to learn more about what they see, then come back to visit these faraway places again.

Ease of Play

Step-by-step instructions for setting up and pairing your phone to your viewer. Once you get used to it, navigating through the virtual worlds is pretty easy.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

When looking at the home screen outside the viewer, there's a listing of more virtual reality apps, some available for free and some for a price.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Google Cardboard has a handful of mini adventures that demonstrate what virtual reality app experiences are like. This is really a small starter collection: Options include visiting a few cities worldwide for a virtual tour, looking at items from a museum exhibit, and exploring an animated arctic environment. Though there isn't a whole lot of content, it does give kids an introduction to the feel of virtual reality (VR). To use Google Cardboard, kids need a Cardboard viewer. Before starting, the viewer needs to be paired with your device. Because of the immersive nature of virtual reality, users may find the experience much more intense than watching on a traditional screen, and some may experience symptoms of motion sickness. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old October 25, 2017

VR!

It's a really cheap introduction to virtual reality. Anyone can use it as long as they can move! The violence and stuff really depend on what apps you use... Continue reading

What's it about?

GOOGLE CARDBOARD offers an introduction to virtual reality with five experiences. Insert your phone into your viewer and look all around you as you go for a walk through world cities like Paris or Tokyo with images from Google Streetview or explore interesting world sites, like the Great Barrier Reef or the American Museum of Natural History. Users also can take a 3D look at a handful of objects from museum exhibitions. For a different experience, feel like you're falling through a kaleidoscope or fly with birds in an arctic landscape.

Is it any good?

A few well-chosen experiences offer only a small taste of the immersive feel of virtual reality. Google Cardboard works best as a tutorial for how to use virtual reality with your phone and a viewer and as a sample of the different things that virtual reality can offer. It's great fun to feel like you're standing along a canal in Venice or to look all around you to explore an exhibition hall at the National Air and Space Museum. The fun will probably end quickly, though, since each of these experiences is a still photo (rather than a video) and once you've turned all around -- or moved forward or backward a bit -- there's not much else to see. The animated arctic journey offers motion but is also a pretty quick shot. Bottom line: Virtual reality can be a super-cool experience, and Google Cardboard feels like a limited practice run. Kids who are enchanted by the experience will certainly want more. Parents may want to consider the potential physical and emotional effects, particularly on sensitive kids who may feel nauseated, get headaches, or feel overwhelmed by the immersive experience. VR isn't recommended for little kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how using virtual reality apps like Google Cardboard is different from playing with apps in 2D. What does virtual reality add? How real does it feel?

  • Talk about the different places featured in the Google Cardboard adventures. Which ones interest your kids the most? Read books or visit the web to learn more about their favorite sites.

App details

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