The Google Maps team posted about a new zoom feature today over on the Google Maps API Blog. The feature allows you to double click anywhere on the Google Maps interface to zoom in on that point. Mousewheel zooming also appears to work, with a red frame indicating the region that is being zoomed in for you. This does not appear to be part of the API yet (as pointed out by Jared Couslinch of CommunityWalk). This feature is experienced as a "smooth, continuous zoom animation when you zoom in one level" while using Internet Explorer and Firefox according to the Maps team.
The double-click to zoom and continuous zooming features are both available for Google Maps API sites (mashups) as long as you use Version 2 - (My suggestion: get moving over to Version 2 since there is no telling how much longer Version 1 will be supported by Google). The continuous zoom animation will omit map pins during the zoom action so Google has indicated that it may not be applicable for all mashups. In that case they give you information for turning off the feature.
(Read the entire post: Zoooooooom! - 7/11/2006 11:18:00 AM)
Be sure to also check out the post titled Revision 2.58 of API v2 from last Friday that talks about the update to Google Maps satellite imagery and the move to a "hand" map cursor (that some of you might have noticed recently). There is also some geocoding information highlighted as well.
Something not reported on in either of these posts is the new look to the nav-bar along the top of the Google Maps interface. It's a small change and adds some coloring to the 3 options below the search field. This look was already on some of the Google Maps sites in Europe (such as France) and now makes its way across to the .com (North American) Maps site: