As anticipated, Google announced a new Google Maps interface for the desktop. It's not publicly available, but you can get an invite here.
The new Google Maps has three goals: creating personalized maps, making maps immersive and building the interface around maps. Just like Google Chrome removed unnecessary interface elements, Google developed a completely new Google Maps service without sidebars, buttons, search results boxes. It's a simplified experience that focuses on the maps.
"The entire map is now interactive. Clicking anywhere will focus the map on that location and show you helpful things, like related places and the best ways to get there."
Directions are easier to use because they integrate flight search and they compare multiple modes on transportation, so you can find the best one. Search results are directly placed on the map: icons and brief descriptions help you determine if they're useful.
Google Maps highlights the places that are important to you and it shows recommendations from experts and your Google+ circles. This way, you get a customized map that emphasizes the things that are relevant to you.
The new interface is powered by WebGL and it brings the Google Earth imagery to the browser without having to use plugins. Google has a different way to show some of the map layers like photos and satellite view, while other layers are missing.
Google will also update the mobile Google Maps apps for Android and iOS this summer and you'll finally get Google Maps for iPad.