Re: PWA is a strategy for privatizing the Web
What about Firefox? That supports PWA well.
PWA's are in-use by a great number of users without even knowing it. And those PWA's sometimes behaviour better than the identical native apps. Simple things like text copy-paste is easier on web apps.
I agree that it has taken a long time to reach this near-app, and sometimes better, level. I think in 2009/10 was the beginning. And, of course, we copied the apps developers as best as possible, but like many above have said, it was naff; unreliable, ugly and near-PowerPoint levels of tacky. And then abandoned mostly - the <BLINK> of that era.
From then, after ape-ing, poorly, PWA's had to re-invent that which had influenced it - native apps.
Your opening sentence did set a few alarms off though. There are quite a few PWA's on the Play Store. PWA's are not like web-apps of the past that wrapped a site and caused a ton of extra nonsense work to get on the app store. Twitter is PWA,so is Facebook Lite or whatever it's called.
"I applaud Apple for keeping Google's malevolence in check."
Umm... umm. hmmm. well. Ah, how can i put this without sounding patronising? ... They are pretty much all as bad as anyone. Really. Apple are evil. What about their prices? Come off, sunshine, That's rule 1 in the book: Greed, What could be more evil than their breathtaking mark up!
IMO, Google are pushing this because it breaks Apple's App Store model quite a bit. Native apps will fall as the duplication of the process on web is a very tiresome and difficult to manage tasks - I've did it in 2000 with web and WAP sites. Be honest, a large number of native apps can be ported and whilst their might be differences. It's like pre-internet/early internet where we copied the then-native Windows or Mac apps and put them on the web. Same here. Take the functionality, the Powerpoint-style transitions and fades etc and add them to the Web.
PWA are much faster than before too.