This has upset a vast amount of people. The House Committee on Science and Technology's subcommittee chairman went so far to say that Google was doing an injustice to storm victims. Others have said Google was involved in a conspiracy to exaggerate the recovery effort.
Google in turn has said the imagery update was a standard procedure. The updated imagery is of higher resolution and quality. Right after the Katrina Hurricane, Google Maps offered a "Katrina" layer which should flood damage days after the levees broke.
The uproar shows how successful Google has been with their Maps/Earth tools. It shows how popular and used the tools are. The news also shows that changes in Google's programs are met with the same resistance that changes in Star Trek/Star Wars/Battlestar Galactica are.