There have been a lot of changes these past few weeks with the map tool that we've come to know and love. Google brought it out of beta, changed the name (or at least the logo on the page) and has been playing with the graphical user interface (GUI). I also was sure that maps.google.com forwarded through to local.google.com on the day the name change took place. Now it resovles to maps.google.com again. Lots happening.
One change that I have noticed recently, which has been pointed out by the Zmarties blog, is that map searching now results in much larger maps. Google has removed the left column which restricted the amount of map space on the page.
This was what I saw initially:
after the change:
The new name might be Google Local, but Google has ensured that it still maintains a Google Maps focus through their further development and changes.