Google yesterday announced that it will be updating the Google Maps APIs with a new basemap look and feel that is consistent with the look and feel that is now present across all Google products that incorporate Google Maps.
The updated look and feel was implemented to "improve focus, clarity of information, and readability." Specifically, the new basemap style sports a revised color scheme and typography. A new pin style used to identify points of interest on a map replaces circular icons, and points of interest will have different colors and icons based on their categorization. For example, a Shopping point of interest will have a different color and icon than a Transport point of interest.
Google is transitioning to the new look and feel on an individual API basis over time. It will also give developers the opportunity to opt-out or opt-in for a short period before the new style becomes mandatory.
More information about the updates, including opt-in, is available in the Google Maps APIs documentation.