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Google Cardboard is a virtual reality platform developed by Google that enables users to experience VR through smartphones connected with a low-cost viewer made of cardboard. First introduced at the Google I/O developer conference in 2014, Cardboard quickly gained popularity as an accessible way for people to experience virtual reality without spending hundreds on expensive hardware.

Cardboard was conceptualized when a group of Google employees, led by David Coz and Damien Henry, created a simple cardboard prototype of a virtual reality headset using off-the-shelf components. After showing their creation to Sergey Brin - who was impressed with its potential - and encouraged further development of Cardboard technology.

Google released the Cardboard viewer as an open-source project, enabling developers to design their own viewers and explore VR on multiple smartphones. They also made available their Cardboard app which contains various demos and experiences showcasing its capabilities.

Over time, Google has continued to enhance and develop Cardboard, adding features like support for 360-degree videos and integration with other Google products like Street View. Cardboard has also been used by educators and businesses alike for immersive learning experiences and product demonstrations respectively.

Cardboard was initially designed as an inexpensive means for individuals to experience virtual reality (VR). But its impact has grown considerably beyond that; now influencing VR technology itself and driving innovation within the industry. By making virtual reality accessible for wider audiences than before, Cardboard has helped foster innovation within VR technologies while spurring further advancement within this space.

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