AOL, desperate to keep its hand in the market, has announced that later this month it will release a test version of the legendary, if outdated, Netscape browser.

In August last year, it reminded people Netscape was still alive by releasing version 7.2 of the browser. That has had no impact whatsoever on the market and the release of Firefox 1.0 in November has made Netscape even more obsolete.

But now AOL is promising a test version of Netscape 8 on 17 February, and ascribing it all manner of new features, mostly to do with current concerns over security. Using a list of known malicious websites, it will automatically adjust security settings to protect the user, the company says. A blacklist will be stored on the user's PC and updated frequently.

While browsing the Web, users will be alerted with a red check mark in the browser tab to sites known to be part of a phishing scam or that distribute spyware or other malicious code. Browser technologies such as JavaScript, cookies and ActiveX will be disabled.

Netscape 8 will also identify sites known to be trusted, such as banks, online services and online stores, with a green check mark. Unknown sites will be coded yellow. Users can change settings on a per-site basis through a menu that is easily accessible from the browser tab.

Netscape 8 is based on Firefox, but also supports the IE browser engine. It doesn't include the IE engine, but uses the engine that is part of Windows. As such, though, it only works on Windows computers.

Netscape 8 will also include support for RSS feeds and allow users to set multiple homepages that will display in different browser-tabs.