Google has today rolled out some design changes to the map and hybrid views in Google Maps. Google say that the changes,
"include numerous refinements to color, density, typography, and road styling worldwide. For example, in map view, local and arterial roads have been narrowed at medium zooms to improve legibility, and the overall colours have been optimized to be easier on the eye and conflict less with other things".
Here is a comparison of the old (left) and new hybrid view,
In this view you can see that more roads are clearly visible in the updated design.
Here is comparison of the old (left) and new map view,
In this new view place names are clearly more visible.
I also think that at the higher zoom levels far more interactive business icons are being displayed. Google doesn't mention this in their announcement, so I can't be sure of this. However check out Haight St, San Francisco below, this number of points of interest looks new to me.
Anyway TechCrunch are fans of the new design. They say that "it’s clear to see that the new look is much nice (sic). Gone is much of the clutter cause (sic) by darkened street outlines."
Via: Google LatLong