Google Expeditions
Developer(s)Google LLC
Initial release2015 (release), 2017 (Expeditions AR)
Operating systemAndroid, iOS Edit this on Wikidata

Google Expeditions was a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google and designed for educational institutions. Using Android or iOS smartphones, the companion mobile app and head-mounted displays such as Google Cardboard or Daydream View, students (or other users) could take virtual trips to various destinations.[1][2] Well-known partners included the American Museum of Natural History, National Geographic, WWF and the National Museum of Korea.[3] The platform was discontinued on June 30, 2021, and was merged into Google Arts & Culture.[4]

Functionality and offerings

A Google Cardboard headset, photographed on a table in shallow depth of field.
Google Cardboard

The Google Expeditions app offered a variety of virtual excursions. These included trips to natural landscapes; tours of cultural institutions such as museums; and explorations of historical, futuristic, and distant sights (such as dinosaurs or the moon). Students could look and move around freely. The program included Google Street View recordings and "AirPanos" (panoramic captures taken from the air).[5]

Each school class kit contained 30 synchronized Google Cardboards with smartphones and a tablet for the teacher.[6] Over 600 tours were available.[7] Teachers, acting as expedition leaders, could highlight specific details to the class within each scene. Smiley icons informed the expedition leader where individual students were looking. The app also included recommendations for discussion questions and learning exercises.[8] Students could also complete expeditions alone, meaning that teachers could assign these virtual tours as homework.[9][10][11] Expedition kits could be purchased in full or assembled from individual purchases.


After Google Cardboard was announced in 2014, the product showed immediate promise within the education sector. Google Expeditions was presented for the first time at Google I/O 2015, with a launch date of September 2015.[12] Since May 2016, over a million students have taken part in a virtual tour via the program.[13] In July 2017, Google began a training initiative for the program based in Munich. Expedition trainers visit schools across Germany, bringing with them complete Expeditions kits.[2] The nonprofit organization Stiftung Lesen supports the use of Google Expeditions in schools and libraries. Managing Director Sabine Uehlein views Expeditions not as a threat to reading as a whole, but as a bridge to the written word as a medium.[14] Google also planned to add augmented reality to the program under the title Google Expeditions AR using its Tango platform. This project was scheduled to start in Autumn 2017.[15]


CNET described Cardboard as the first virtual reality platform aimed at children.[16] VRODO made comments about the platform, expressing a belief in the future of immersive learning and describing virtual reality as an aid to the memorization process. Der Tagesspiegel remarked that Expeditions can give students a new perspective on subject matter while studying.[8] The technology-focused website Chip Online observed that subjects such as geography, history, and biology are ideal for a program such as Expeditions, and gave the app a favorable rating. However, Chip Online criticized the cost of assembling a full Expeditions kit, noting that not every student owns a smartphone.[5] Sigrid Driver from Stiftung Lesen noted that content on the platform must be exciting in order to arouse the curiosity of students, and to ensure students engage meaningfully with topics at hand.[17]


  1. ^ Adi Robertson (2015-05-28). "Google has a new Cardboard headset, and it supports iPhones". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  2. ^ a b "Google treibt die digitale Bildung in Deutschland mit Macht voran – und drängt mit virtuellen Expeditionen in die Schulen | News4teachers". (in German). 17 July 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  3. ^ "Google Expeditions | Partners". Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  4. ^ "Bring your lessons to life with Expeditions". Google for Education. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  5. ^ a b Christian Schwale (2016-06-28). "Ist das die Lern-Revolution: Google startet VR-Expeditionen". Chip Online. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  6. ^ Nicole Lee (2015-04-06). "Google makes its case for VR by reinventing the field trip". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  7. ^ Tomislav Bezmalinovic (2017-07-20). "Google Expeditions: Ab sofort sind Solo-Exkursionen möglich". VRODO. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  8. ^ a b Hendrik Lehmann (2017-02-22). "Google bietet virtuelle Expeditionen für Schulklassen an". Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  9. ^ Tomislav Bezmalinovic (2017-07-20). "Google Expeditions: Ab sofort sind Solo-Exkursionen möglich". VRODO. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  10. ^ Mallory Locklear (2017-07-19). "Take a VR trip with Google Expeditions all by yourself". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  11. ^ "Was ist Google Expeditionen? - Expeditionen-Hilfe" (in German). Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  12. ^ Darrell Etherington (2015-05-28). "Google Launches 'Expeditions,' An App For Shared Virtual School Field Trips | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  13. ^ Jordan Novet (2016-05-19). "Google is working with IMAX and Yi Technology to build Jump-ready VR camera rigs". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  14. ^ Matthias Bastian (2015-09-29). "Google Expeditions startet: Virtuelle Ausflüge für Schulklassen". VRODO. Archived from the original on 2017-07-28. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  15. ^ "Google Expeditions AR". Google. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  16. ^ Scott Stein (2015-06-02). "Cardboard for kids: Google's bet on the future of VR is children". CNET. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  17. ^ Florentine Anders (2017-03-07). "Digitaler Unterricht in der virtuellen Welt". berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 2017-07-28.