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Google News Initiative

Fundamentals Lab

Fundamentals Lab Session

Google has worked with thousands of trusted news organizations around the world to improve their website performance with personalized recommendations from Google's award-winning News Consumer Insights tool.

In our popular Fundamentals Lab, which is free of cost, we review your site and share practical, easy-to-follow steps to grow your audience, ad revenue, and reader revenue.

Lab content

Over the course of three months, you'll participate in six live sessions and receive three personalized audits of your website, covering the topics below:

Audience Development: Engage your news website's loyal readers with tactics on:

  • Newsletter signups
  • Push notifications
  • Search discovery optimization
  • Social media strategy
  • Recirculation to other articles
  • Website speed and experience

Reader Revenue: Launch and grow subscriptions and donations from your news website's supporters with guidance on:

  • Marketing assets for subscriptions and donations
  • Mobile and desktop "landing page" design
  • Checkout flow for subscribers and donors

Advertising Revenue: Set up and improve digital advertising on your news website with support on:

  • Ad sizes
  • Ad density
  • Ad placement
  • Ad formats
  • Ad blockers
  • Ad policy compliance
  • Ad speed

Lab timeline



More than 1,600 news organizations across 94 countries have participated in the Fundamentals Lab, formerly known as NCI Shift:

  • “This program was fantastic, one of the most useful things I have done since becoming an independent publisher more than 12 years ago."
  • “It was beneficial and eye-opening to receive the audits and feedback from digital experts. They were able to take the emotion out of the products and better inform us on what we can do better to improve our UX.”
  • “The program gave us a clear roadmap for building engagement and helped bring our digital and revenue goals into better alignment."


You are welcome to apply if your news organization:

✓ Produces original news content on a website
✓ Focuses on hard news (i.e. not lifestyle, entertainment, sports, etc.)
✓ Uses and can grant access to Google Analytics
✓ Is willing to test and improve your workflows, products, and technology
✓ Has leadership approval to commit operational and technical resources

and you...

✓ Can commit 1-2 hours of your time per week
✓ Are willing to share insights with other publishers and the greater news industry


✓ You must be independently owned and operated
✓ You must not employ government officials or individuals that are also employed by government entities
✓ You must not be a Google employee or contractor


  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but space is limited. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Programs launch on a quarterly basis.

  • Google staff will review all applications and determine a cohort that can collaboratively work together and learn from each other. We may request additional information via email regarding your application.

    All applicants will be notified of selection decisions via email within six weeks.

  • You will participate in a total of six, 90-minute sessions with your cohort over the course of three months. In between sessions, you will review audits that we have completed for you.

  • You will be asked to provide relevant information and will need to accept Google's privacy policy.

    Please allow 20-30 minutes to complete the application. We recommend that you apply as soon as possible.

  • Email with any questions or for additional guidance.

  • Google will process any personal data you provide in connection with this application in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Applicants may request to update, delete, or receive a copy of their responses by contacting

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