This isn’t new, but I just came across Deep Zoom from MS. It’s based on their Seadragon technology, and it requires Silverlight.
Check out the Hard Rock Cafe collection of memorabilia. Combined with a faceted navigation on the left, you can really move around the items quite quickly. And because these are photos, you immediately see what you are getting. The zoom function is great–you can read the fine print on a document or see scratches on the guitars.
I can also imagine browsing publications, books, and newspapers with this technology, so there’d be application for it in information design and information architecture.