On the old style Google Maps there was an option to remove the "labels" overlay so in satellite view you would just see the map.
In the new version of Maps I can't seem to find out how to remove this layer.
[Updated Nov 2019]
Satellite(the second item of the menu) to turn Sattellite mode on if it's not on yet;
Sattellite. It changes to
Labels on. It changes to
Complaints about the lack of such a feature (I think perhaps on 'Earth' view rater than satellite) are recent so I think there is, as yet, no simple way to remove the labels. However there is this advice from John Mee June 24 (presumably 2014):
a) Hit the "?" on the new maps and select "return to the old google maps". On the old maps in the "map/traffic" widget at the top right of page you can uncheck "labels". In the left sidebar click "get it now" to return to the New google maps (or "dismiss" the 'remember I want old maps' notification and close/reopen the browser.
b) Install Google Earth and turn off all the "Layers"
I've not tested this but it seems to have been upvoted more than downvoted.
You can use the Google Maps Styled Map Wizard which allows to remove labels and do other sorts of personalizations (Roads, Landmarks, Color Styles, elements coloring and fill, etc):
In Earth view on the new Google Maps, if you hit the settings cogwheel at the bottom right-hand corner (between the ? and the Street View Pegman), the option to toggle labels is now available.