GrandCentral and TalkPlus, Tell Me the Difference

I’ve been wondering about the GrandCentral “One number for life” mantra, and TalkPlus‘ second number for your mobile phone. While I understand these products target different markets, I find it hard to keep them distinct in my mind. It dawned on me that this could be a problem that consumers have as well.

There’s a lot of chatter about Voice 2.0 applications–the user in control not the network–but that is the VOIP blogosphere talking. Me, I think okay, I get another number, it’s free for now, and it’s solving what problem exactly? 


Provides a phone number not tied to a device or location. When people call this number, the phones you have “attached” to it ring, like your cell phone, home phone, and office phone. Up to six phones can be linked to your GrandCentral number. The service is all about giving you control over how people reach you (inbound calling) as opposed to how you place calls. Callers can leave voice messages that can be checked by phone, email or online. You’re notified of a voice mail via email or text message to a cell phone. And you can flag unwanted callers as spam. It’s also free.

You need it if people have a hard time tracking you down. You find yourself playing telephone tag. You WANT to be found but heck, you’re always bouncing between work, home, and on the road.


Provides a second number for your cell phone so you can separate personal life and work life. The number can be used as a second line for business, dating, classified ads, online auctions, social groups, or a second residence. Like GrandCentral, unwanted callers can be blocked while priority numbers ring through. When making outbound calls, you can specify which caller ID to use so that the person you are calling doesn’t know how or where you’re calling from.

You need it if your mobile phone is your primary means of communication but the  separation of work and play is important to you. You want people to know that you’re calling from the office (the caller ID says this is a work-related call) even though you’re calling from home or the beach in Maui. You are also concerned about personal privacy and want to make sure that your personal number is only available to the people you want to have it.


In talking with Craig Walker, GrandCentral CEO, he tells me they couldn’t be more different than TalkPlus.

“Our philosophy is that we don’t need MORE numbers for people to reach us at…we need less.  As long as I have the control over my inbound calling that GrandCentral gives me, there’s no reason that I would want to juggle different personas. I don’t want phone numbers that identify me as being located at a certain place or doing a certain thing, I want a phone number that is personal to me.  If you want to reach me, call my ONE NUMBER.  I’ll be able to answer it wherever I want…I will be able to know who’s calling every time, and I’ll even be able to listen in on the voicemail as its being left if I’m still unsure whether I want to take the call.  When somebody calls me, they shouldn’t be able to “figure out” or know where I am based on the number…if I’m in the office, working from home or on the beach, that’s my business.” 

Obviously there’s more to both GrandCentral and TalkPlus than what I describe here, and the enthusiasm voiced by many in the VOIP blogging community seems to be not so much what these services are doing today, but what we can expect from them in the future.

To set up a free GrandCentral account, click here. To sign up for a TalkPlus sneak peak beta (for Cingular, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers in select U.S. states only), click here. TalkPlus won’t be a free service like GrandCentral and pricing is to be determined.

7 thoughts on “GrandCentral and TalkPlus, Tell Me the Difference

  1. Pingback: The PhoneBoy Blog » One Number or Many Numbers?

  2. Daniel

    The products are very different – if only for outbound calls. How can you have one number if the outgoing caller ID is different based on your current location (work, office, cell) – how is that one number?
    Talkplus gives you the choice of what is displayed on the outgoing caller ID. That’s the beauty of their product. I don’t want customers to have my cell phone number – I want them to have my DID from my office, so I truly have one number.

  3. Member of the Great Unwashed

    This seems to me to be a phony issue. Someone might want to keep his home # separate from his work #, and that work # should perhaps ring on several different phones maybe in different geographical locations. These days, I understand, that is possible.

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but it seems like a no-brainer.


  4. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Two new VoIP services compared, contrasted

  5. Del Maugars

    There is also a huge difference that most people skipped regarding TalkPlus: you have to download an application on your phone, assuming you have a compatible phone, of course.

    We just launched the same service as TalkPlus, with custom caller-id to filter calls, but we operate directly at network level. A mix of GrandCentral and TalkPlus if you want, but with one mantra: Easy-To-Use.

    It means you don’t have to download or setup anything on your phone. It takes 5mn to activate a new Masque Number, and it works on any phone you want.
    Price? Like Netflix, you pay for the number of Masque Numbers you use per month, you drop at anytime with no deactivation fee.

    You can also choose to forward or block calls by time of day, by timezone, to receive voicemails by email, and you get your call records online in real-time. Just thought it may be useful to you… Hope you’ll like it!

  6. Larry P


    I am a long time GrandCentral user and I cn confirm that one number for life works better than many numbers for different things. You can customize greetings for groups or individuals so that they you appear business or casual. You can have a different anouncement for unknown numbers which handles the what if they call from a different phone number issue,

    Oh and to answer the one commenter’s question the Grandcentral number is always the one shown on the outbound caller id. This solves the issue of people calling different #’s.

    There are only 2 drawbacks to Grandcentral. Currently there is no SMS/MMS through the GC number (and I haven’t heard of a similar service doing it either) and customer service / service status is pretty much non-existent currently. However it IS FREE and does work with 98% uptime.


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